By: Theresa Carmichael
Large food companies have been getting a lot of attention on whether or not they are being honest with their customers. These companies often times include labeling on their packaging that can mislead or cause confusion for the general public. Labeling standards for products considered “free range”, “enriched”, “wholesome”, “all natural”, and “no salt added” are unknown to many individuals. In return, they have become extremely popular in the food industry. Well, it’s time to debunk the misconceptions and explain what these phrases really mean according to the labeling laws of the USDA and FDA:
Free Range- The animals are allowed access outside of living conditions, but do not necessarily live and roam outside. Most certified free-range products include farm practices that keep the animals in a room or building, but include small passageways for outside movement for about 1/3 of their life.
No Salt Added- This means exactly what it says. BUT, this term seems to mislead people to believe there is no salt in that food. After taking a look at the nutrition facts label on the back of a product, you will find that the salt or sodium content of that food can still be substantially higher than other foods without this label due to the food’s original composition.
Enriched- The original nutrients of a food have been taken out due to processing, but have been artificially put back into the product. Enrichment is used to make sure people are getting the essential nutrients they need whether or not they eat whole foods or processed foods.
Wholesome- The food is considered safe to eat, not of more nutritional value.
All Natural- This term is pretty vague and is only regulated for minimally processed meat and egg foods. This label does not include standards regarding farm practices and is not regulated when used on products other than meat and eggs.
Once we have taken into account the nutrition facts label and the true meaning of these labels, we can each continue to be our own food activist.
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